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Wednesday, December 08, 2021

The Immaculate Conception in Tenerife

Nuestra Señora de La Concepción (Church of the Immaculate Conception) rene boulay, CC BY-SA 3.0

Today, 8 December is a public holiday for the Inmaculada Concepción (Immaculate Conception). Many people will be taking time of this week as un puente (translates to bridge) or short break. It's also customary to put up Christmas decorations (in homes) on the weekend closest to 8 December, but with this date falling on a Wednesday and being equidistant from either last weekend or next, provides a bit of a dilemma!

Since the 14th century there have been references in Spain to brotherhoods created in honor of the Immaculate Conception. The oldest, in Gerona, dates from 1330. In the 16th century this fervor was revitalized with a huge number of brotherhoods established under the dedication of the Pure and Clean Concepción de María, brotherhoods devoted to charitable work and social assistance. The Franciscans were very faithful to the belief in the Immaculate Conception, and contributed to its spread throughout the world.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception was a feast of keeping in all the kingdoms of His Catholic Majesty, that is, in the entire Spanish Empire, since 1644 it was declared a feast of keeping in the entire Church since 1708 by order of Pope Clement XI.

In 1760, in response to a plea from Charles III, Pope Clement XIII issued the bull Quantum Ornamenti, which has since proclaimed the Immaculate the main patron of Spain and the Indies. In 1771 the same king consecrated the newly created order of Carlos III to the Immaculate Conception and a year later Clement XIV, by means of a papal bull, recognized this order, identified by the colours white and blue.

She has been the patron saint of the Infantry of the Spanish Army since 1892 by Royal Order of Queen María Cristina de Habsburgo-Lorena, in which she officially declares "Patroness of the Infantry to Our Lady the Immaculate and Immaculate Conception". This patronage has its origin in the Miracle of Empel (8 Dec 1585), a great Spanish victory in the wars in Flanders.

She is also the patron of the Ecclesiastical Corps of the Army and the General Staff, the Legal Corps, and the Military Pharmacy. The Official Associations of Pharmacists and the Faculties of Pharmacy also have her as their patron.

Iglesia de la Concepción (San Cristóbal de La Laguna) Image: Raimo Nieminen Some rights reserved

The first temple dedicated to the Immaculate Conception in Spain was the Monastery of San Jerónimo de Granada. In the Canary Islands, the mother parish of the island of Tenerife is under the invocation of the Immaculate Conception in the city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, of which she is the Mayor and Co-Patron of the city and Patron of the Spanish Red Cross of the city. This also had the honor of being the second image of the Immaculate to be canonically crowned in Spain, after that in Villalpando (Zamora).

Immaculate Conception Church in la Orotava, Tenerife El fosilmaníaco, CC BY-SA 3.0

The most important temple in the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception (Iglesia Matriz de la Concepción). In La Orotava (Tenerife) is the Iglesia de la Concepción, which is the best example of the Baroque in the Canary Islands and the Immaculate is the patron saint of the mother temple of this town. In Los Realejos (also in Tenerife) is the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción.

In the Gran Canaria municipality of Agaete, she is the patron saint of that town in the north of the island. On the island of Fuerteventura, in the municipality of Betancuria, there is the Matriz de la Concepción Church, also called Santa María de Betancuria, the mother parish of the island. She is the historical patron of the island. In Valverde is the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, and it is the patron saint of the island of El Hierro, the westernmost of the Canary Islands and called Meridiano Island, in ancient times. 

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